April is IBS Awareness Month! Did you know an estimated 11% of the global population have Irritable Bowel Syndrome? If you think you may be one of these people, don’t worry! Although IBS can sound scary, it IS treatable! (Myth #1 = busted).

This disorder manifests uniquely for each person, so our irritable bowel syndrome treatment plan will be individualized to help whether you have…

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea defined as: >3 bowel movements daily and/or watery loose stool)
  • Constipation (defined as: <1 bowel movements daily and/or feeling of incomplete emptying)
  • Pain and cramping
  • All or a combination of the above

In Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, we look at all of the underlying causes. Some of the most common are bacterial infections, food intolerances, leaky gut, and enzyme insufficiencies.

Our Functional Medicine Physician, Dr. Kristen Halland, DC sheds light on some common myths about Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

  1. It only takes a few medications to treat IBS. This is not true, everyone reacts differently to medication, and can even create negative side effects. In Functional Medicine, we take an individualized approach with each case to get to the root cause of your concerns, instead of treating the symptoms. And, our goal is to maximize diet / lifestyle as much as possible!
  2. A gluten-free diet will fix your IBS. Again, everyone’s body and intolerances are different. While many of us are sensitive to gluten, it doesn’t mean eliminating only gluten will cure the symptoms we are feeling.
  3. IBS can be treated with diet alone. Many of people will self-diagnosis their IBS and begin eliminating certain foods from their diet. There are well researched diets like Low Fodmaps that are effective for reducing IBS symptoms. However, IBS is only corrected when you fix the CAUSE of the problem and it’s much more commonly a bacterial GI infection than it is food intolerances! However, many times the deficiency can lie deeper, and you may be lacking nutrients and enzymes that will need to be supplemented into the body.
  4. IBS is a physiological disorder. Not long ago, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) treatment was essentially non-existent. Doctors and patients alike believed IBS was just a psychological issue. That is no longer true. That is no longer true as we now understand several biochemical causes of IBS.

Bonus tip: Acupuncture treatment is growing in popularity as an effective option for patients seeking relief from IBS! Alternative medicine can help relieve your symptoms.

If you have any symptoms of IBS, you can meet with our Functional Medicine Physicians for free 15-minute consultations to learn more about our services. Click here to schedule your consultation!


About Dr. Halland, DC

Dr. Kristen Halland leads the Functional Medicine & Clinical Nutritional team at Aligned Modern Health’s River North and Streeterville locations.  Dr. Halland’s goal is to help people feel their best and live life fully – by using natural treatment options first and always seeking the root cause of the health issue. She graduated from Palmer College (Davenport) as a Chiropractic Physician in 2010 and pursued a second board certification and Diplomat in Acupuncture, First Line Therapy certifications, and extensive continuing education in integrative nutrition and functional medicine. Dr. Halland has enjoyed what she calls an eclectic career, including partnering with local Dietetics schools as a rotation site for R.D. students, teaching Human Anatomy / Cadaver Lab at local nursing colleges and lecturing on continuing education topics to other healthcare providers. Outside of the office she lives in suburbs of Chicago with her husband (and 3 pets!) and enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time with their families in Iowa and South Carolina.